30 Tools in 30 Days: Day 13 Sketchboard

Day 13: Sketchboard

I have fallen in love with Sketchnotes. Let me rephrase that. I have fallen in love with the idea of Sketchnotes. I have never created one myself but I love how others have taken ideas, concepts, and processes and turned them into drawings that use interesting visuals to convey the information. If you don’t know what Sketchnotes are, check out the work by Sylvia Duckworth. She is my Sketchnote idol. Basically, it is visual note-taking. I am not good at it at all. But as I said, I love the idea.

I’ve been trying to find a tool that could help me build my Sketchnoting skills. Lucky for me, I came across a tweet from Jennifer Gonzolazes (@cultofpedagogy) from Cult of Pedagogy that identified the six ed tech tools to try in 2017.  One of those tools was Sketchboard, a collaborative whiteboard tool that integrates with other collaboration apps such as Slack and Google Drive. It looked promising.

Scketchboard is designed to help teams work together virtually. At its heart, mind mapping tool that multiple people can contribute to in real time. I tried out the free version and created my first board. I did not play with it much but my first impression is positive.

SketchboardScreen Cap
My first (kind of lame) map.

Some of the things I like.

  • The elements of your board have a hand-drawn feel. Gives you the look of a sketch but in a clean way. Not in the messy way that you might see on my whiteboard when you walk into my office.
  •  You can usee icons and shapes form the library or draw freehand.
  •  The drawing space easily expands as your ideas grow. It is very easy to navigate around your canvas. No matter how big your map gets.
  • You can add members to your team and give them different roles.
  • Integrates with Google Drive.
  • You can turn your map into a presentation by turning areas of your map into slides. (Kind of like you can with Prezi.)
  • Boards can be public, private, or password protected.
  • You can add comments to your map or live chat with your team as you create.

The one thing I don’t like.

  • The free version is limited. Not in features. You have full access to most of the tools and features. However, free users can only have 3 private boards for up to 5 team members. If you are not going to use it with a team, you can get an individual account for $7.00/ month. Organization/team memberships start at $14.00/month for up to 3 members. The business membership is $79.00/month. I’m a big fan of free stuff so I don’t think I’d pay for the upgrade. However, if your team is global and you need the ability to collaborate visually, it might be a good investment. Note: It looks like there might be a special rate or educators. You can email them for more information. I have not emailed them yet to get more info.

I’m interested in what type of price package is available for education. I could see this as a valuable tool, especially for students working on group projects. My problem is that there are so many mind mapping tools out there I find it hard to commit to just one. I’ll need to explore Sketchboard further before I can say this one is my favorite.

Sketchboard may not be the answer to my Sketchnoting dreams but it is a solid collaborative whiteboard tool. especially if you are already using Slack or Google Drive to connect with your team. My quest continues for the one tool to rule them all and get me sketchnoting. Until then, I’ll be here with my pens and my Leuchtturm1917 notebook taking notes and doodling ideas. 

For more information on Sketchnotes, check out the links below.

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